-registers the highest jump in a ranking of 40 places
The World Press Freedom Index-2019, annual index published since 2002 by the French based Reporters without Borders, aka Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), has ranked Ethiopia 110th out of 180 countries in general level of media freedom exhibiting an improvement of 40 places in ranking since last year where the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) took over the reins of power at Arat Kilo.
According to an excerpt of the 2019-Index, which was provided exclusively to The Reporter by the non-governmental media advocacy group this week, the year was not only good for Ethiopia with respect to media freedom but for the entire continent as Africa registered the “smallest deterioration” in its regional score in 2019 in the face of one of the worst years for the global journalism fraternity.
According to RSF’s assessment, “an intense climate of fear has been triggered-one that is prejudicial to safe reporting environment.” And an increased level of hostilities fueled by “politicians” is “inciting frequent and serious” act of violence towards journalists.
Nevertheless, the index also asserts that Africa is not also doing better as region but some of the best performers of the year came from this region. In this regard, the report details, how after the change of leadership in Ethiopia, the country was inspired to free all of its detained journalists and activities, lift the ban on websites and media outlets and embark upon a comprehensive legislative overhaul in connection to media regulation.
“For the first time in more than ten years there is no journalist in prison at the end of the year 2018,” the report says, thereby aiding the “spectacular soaring” in media freedom, exhibited his year.
Apart from Ethiopia, the Gambia, which jumped 30 places in 2019 to be ranked as 92nd, is also another African nation which managed to register big improvements during the year in question. “Promising evolution” has been observed in the Gambia since the departure of the long-serving president Yahya Jammeh.
However, still the situation in Namibia (23rd), once more the best ranking African country with regard to press freedom, Burkina Faso (36th) or Senegal (49th) is diametrically opposed to the states of press freedom in Eritrea (178th) and Djibouti (173rd), where no independent media are permitted which RSF dubs as “information black holes”.
Globally, Norway still tops the index as it did for the past three years followed by Finland and Sweden. Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belgium, and Costa Rica are the other counties at the top ten positions from the around the world. Whereas on the other hand, countries like Turkmenistan, DPRK, China, Sudan, Syria Saudi Arabia, and Iran composed the bottom ranking group.